Derik Badman's Journal

2021-03-04 08:18

Saw my first crocuses of the year/season popping up in a yard on my walk yesterday, so spring is coming. That's something positive for my week. Work has been a struggle.

I watched Georges Franju's Judex over two days, 1963 homage/remake of an old Louis Feuillade silent serial (also called Judex). Someone somewhere mentioned it recently, and there it was in Criterion. It's a fun rather silly film that I quite enjoyed. The plot has all the logic of old serial thrillers which is to say, a very loose logic. At one point the antogonist femme and her gang kidnap the hero's love interest (the femme is dressed as a nun which makes for some great visuals) then throw her off a bridge and watch her float down the river (maybe an Ophelia reference as she floats on her back down the river). They then follow the body to "see where she goes." When she is picked up by some village fishermen, they hope she is dead. Then... they hijack the ambulance the villagers call to help the woman and... kidnap her again. There is no plot-based logic to this, it all seems to just be for the purposes of the visuals, the dynamic scenes. Franju is clearly using the tropes of the silent films but it feels less aged because of the filmic technology (better quality visuals and, of course, the sound).

Francine Bergé is quite stunning in the role of the governess turned criminal femme. She is very much the star of the movie despite being the antogonist for the eponymous hero. Of course she has to die at the end (falling from a building while wearing her black cat suit after fighting with a circus acrobat in a white leotard), splayed out on the ground amongst weeds and flowers. I wasn't aware I'd seen her before, but I just found a still of her from Rivette's The Nun and I very much remember her. She was also playing a kind of antagonist in that film too. She has these great expressions where she is just shooting daggers at another character. I see she's also in Roger Vadim's La Ronde with Anna Karina, which I guess I'll have to now watch.

Finished up Alex Pheby's Mordew, excepting the rather long glossary at the back which I was only skimming. In the end I feel... meh, about the book. Interesting enough that I finished it, but it never really... turned... to something all that interesting. The protagonist is pretty flat, mostly just doing what other people tell him to. A large shift in the plot/world/outlook never really happens beyond the expected revelation that his parent's were not the poor slum living people he saw them as. The ending was very much a "first part of a trilogy" ending that resolved very little and did not do much to explain anything. I shrug. I will not be searching out the sequel should it ever appear.